Tag Archives: Food science

Whey Protein Can Bring Down Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

New research shows that consuming whey protein, made from materials leftover from the production of cheese, can help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The effect depends on the specific type of high blood pressure an individual has, and has no known side effects, potentially making whey protein an alternative treatment option for some patients.

Beverages supplemented by whey-based protein can significantly reduce elevated blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease, a Washington State University study has found.

Research led by nutritional biochemist Susan Fluegel and published in International Dairy Journal found that daily doses of commonly available whey brought a more than six-point reduction in the average blood pressure of men and women with elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressures. While the study was confined to 71 student subjects between the ages of 18 and 26, Fluegel says older people with blood pressure issues would likely get similar results.

“One of the things I like about this is it is low-cost,” says Fluegel, a nutritional biochemistry instructor interested in treating disease through changes in nutrition and exercise. “Not only that, whey protein has not been shown to be harmful in any way.”

Terry Shultz, co-author and an emeritus professor in the former Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, said the findings have practical implications for personal health as well as the dairy industry.

“These are very intriguing findings, very interesting,” he said. “To my knowledge, this hasn’t been shown before.”

The study, which Fluegel did for her doctorate in nutritional biochemistry, notes that researchers in a 2007 study found no blood-pressure changes in people who took a whey-supplemented drink. At first, she saw no consistent improvement either. But then she thought to break out her subjects into different groups and found significant improvements in those with different types of elevated blood pressure. Improvements began in the first week of the study and lasted through its six-week course.

The supplements, delivered in fruit-flavored drinks developed at the WSU Creamery, did not lower the blood pressure of subjects who did not have elevated pressure to begin with. That’s good, said Fluegel, as low blood pressure can also be a problem.

Other studies have found that blood-pressure reductions like those seen by Fluegel can reduce cardiovascular disease and bring a 35 to 40 percent reduction in fatal strokes.

Health benefits aside, researchers are excited about the prospect of improving the market for whey, a cheese byproduct that often has to be disposed of at some expense. Its potential economic impact is unclear, says Shannon Neibergs, a WSU extension economist, “but any positive use of that product is going to be beneficial.”

Source : Elements4Health

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Drinking a Glass of Milk Can Stop Garlic Breath

If you are worried about garlic breath, drink a glass of milk, say scientists who claim it can stop the lingering odour.

Sulphur compounds in garlic make it smelly

In tests with raw and cooked cloves, milk “significantly reduced” levels of the sulphur compounds that give garlic its flavour and pungent smell.

The authors told the Journal of Food Science it is the water and fat in milk that deodorises the breath.

For optimum effect, sip the milk as you eat the garlic, they say.

Mixing milk with garlic in the mouth before swallowing had a higher odour neutralising effect than drinking milk after eating the garlic in the trial.

And full-fat milk provided better results than skimmed milk or just water, according to breath samples taken from a volunteer.

One of the compounds milk counteracts is allyl methyl sulphide or AMS.

This cannot be broken down in the gut during digestion, and so it is released from the body in the breath and sweat.

Although garlic is good for you – containing several vitamins and minerals – once eaten, it can cause bad breath and body odour lasting hours or even days.

Plain water, and some foods, such as mushrooms and basil, may also help neutralise garlic smells, the study authors Sheryl Barringer and Areerat Hansanugrum say.

But it is the mixture of fat and water together that works best, the Ohio State University team say.

“The results suggest that drinking beverages or foods with higher water and/or fat content such as milk may help reduce the malodorous odour in breath after consumption of garlic and mask the garlic flavour during eating,” they say.

Source : BBC NEWS

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Raw Tomatoes May not be That Healthy

Tomatoes eaten raw might not be so healthy, says a new study, because our digestive tract can only process a tiny amount of lycopene, an antioxidant found abundantly in tomatoes.

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Antioxidants are dietary substances found in beta carotene, vitamins C and E and selenium. They prevent damage to the cells in our body or reverse damage after it has been done.

The study found that although around 75 percent of the total antioxidants were released, this included only four percent of the lycopene found in the raw tomato.

“Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene in the human diet, as well as containing other antioxidants essential for health,” said nutritional biochemist Carolyn Lister of Plant & Food Research (PFR).

“However, the human digestive tract is not able to release the majority of lycopene from raw tomatoes, so only a small amount would be made available for the body to use.”

“Processing tomatoes has been shown to make lycopene more bioavailable, so as well as eating raw tomatoes for their nutritional value, we should eat tomato sauces to get the goodness of the lycopene,” said Lister.

Sources:The study was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.


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Washing Fruits and Vegetables

Washing fruits and vegetables does reduce the risk of food poisoning. However, washing alone may not be enough.

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Studies show that some disease-causing microbes can evade even chemical sanitizers. These bacteria can make their way inside the leaves of lettuce, spinach and other vegetables and fruit, where surface treatments cannot reach them. Microbes can also organize themselves into tightly knit packs called biofilms to protect themselves from harm.

Biofilms can harbor multiple versions of infectious, disease-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli.

Researchers suggested that irradiation, a food treatment that exposes food to a source of electron beams, could effectively kill internalized pathogens that are beyond the reach of conventional chemical sanitizers.

Irradiation disrupts the genetic material of living cells, inactivating parasites and destroying pathogens and insects in food.
Sources:
Science Daily April 16, 2008